|A MAIN COG OF THE '92-'93 JAYS DYNASTY.|
|OLERUD AND HIS TRADEMARK HARD HAT.|
DEFINING THE PLAYER
- Few players drew less attention to themselves or had a sweeter swing than clean-cut John Olerud. He went from the campus of Washington State University cross-country to the Blue Jays clubhouse in 1989. He was drafted in the third round and signed on Aug. 29, making his major-league debut Sept. 3 at age 21. For a while, it looked like he might be bound for superstardom.
- On Aug. 2, 1993, after going 1-for-4 against the Yankees, Olerud ended the day at .400, the first batter to have a .400 average entering August since Ted Williams in '41. Olerud "slumped'' the rest of the way, going 54-for-186 (.290), to finish at .363.
- Naturally, it's got to be '93. In addition to that gaudy average, Olerud hit 24 homers, drove in 107 runs, led the league in on-base percentage (.473) and OPS (1.072). He finished third in the AL MVP voting to runner-up and teammate #70 Paul Molitor and unanimous winner #102 Frank Thomas.
FIVE FINAL FACTS
- He wore his trademark batting helmet in the field for protection because he suffered a brain aneurysm while in college.
- With the Cougars, Olerud was a freshman All-American pitcher.
- Finished his career with exactly 500 doubles.
- Traded to the Mets before the '97 season because the Jays had the emerging Carlos Delgado coming up from the minors.
- Came close to matching his '93 high-water mark five years later with the Mets, hitting .354 with 22 homers, 93 RBI, 36 doubles and a .998 OPS.